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1980 Movie Reviews – Herbie Goes Bananas

by Sean P. Aune | June 25, 2020June 25, 2020 12:09 pm EDT

Welcome to an exciting year-long project here at The Nerdy. 1980 was an exciting year for films giving us a lot of films that would go on to be beloved favorites and cult classics. It was also the start to a major shift in cultural and societal norms, and some of those still reverberate to this day.

We’re going to pick and choose which movies we hit, but right now the list stands at nearly three dozen.

Yes, we’re insane, but 1980 was that great of a year for film.

The articles will come out – in most cases – on the same day the films hit theaters in 1980 so that it is their true 40th anniversaries. All films are also watched again for the purposes of these reviews and are not being done from memory. In some cases, it truly will be the first time we’ve seen them.

This time around it’s June 25, 1980, and we’re off to see Herbie Goes Bananas!

Quick side note: Since we launched this series this year, we’ve discovered that Vintage Video Podcast is doing the exact same project with two differences: First, it’s audio (naturally), and second, they are doing every major film. We’ve listened to a couple of episodes and it’s fun checking off their thoughts against my own. Check them out over at Vintage Video Podcast.

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Herbie Goes Bananas

Herbie Goes Bananas was the fourth film in the Love Bug series that began in 1968. It was also the last until a reboot in 1997. Having watched this film this week, I can understand why.

First up, lets address the VW Bug in the room. If you have not seen the previous three films – which it has been years for me – you have absolutely no idea what is going on. How is this car “alive?” Is it possessed? Is it just self-aware? You have absolutely no idea why this car can do what it does.

But really, that’s a small thing in the grand scheme of things because, well… this is just an awful movie. The “bad guys” feel very tacked on to the adventures of Paco (Joaquin Garay III) and ‘Ocho’ (his name for Herbie). Even more tacked on would be the ‘love story’ between Melissa (Elyssa Davalos) and Pete (Stephen W. Burns) which happens because… well, they’re a male and a female and they’re in the same room.

That’s how love works, right?

And then lets address what had to be a traumatic scene for children: The murder of Herbie.

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During the course of the film, Herbie is being transported on a cruise ship. As it progresses he annoys the crew with his antics, so Capt. Blythe (Harvey Korman), who believes in the old ways of sailors, has Herbie ‘walk the plank’ by having him dropped overboard in the ocean. A pathetic horn sound, and spinning wheels symbolize Herbie knows what is happening to him as he is dumped in the water. As a 48-year-old in the year 2020, even I went, “Yikes… really?”

This is just really a miserable film and is not worth your time.

1980 Movie Reviews will return on July 2 with Airplane! and Alligator!


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Sean P. Aune

Sean Aune has been a pop culture aficionado since before there was even a term for pop culture. From the time his father brought home Amazing